In the birchot hashachar we say every day, we recite a number of blessings to thank G-d for different things. I like to think about how grateful I am to G-d for every specific thing each blessing mentions. For example, in pokeach ivrim I think about thanking G-d for my capacity to see and how different would everything be if I couldn't see.

But the first of this blessings is hanoten lasechvi vina bein yom uvein laila which means who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night. When I say this, I honestly don't know what to thank for or what to think about. Maybe sometime ago people got woken up in the morning with the sound of the rooster, but I don't know why I should care if a rooster knows if it's day or night.

What should I think about when reciting this blessing?

3 Answers 3


The word sechvi can mean a rooster or the heart. Just as God gave the rooster an understanding of the difference between day and night, we thank Him that He gave our heart the understanding that it is time to wake up and serve Him (based on Artscroll which cites the Rosh).

The Chidushei HaRim (from here) explains it as a daily reminder that, just as HaShem gives the rooster the ability to distinguish between day and night, so, too, He has given us the free will necessary to choose between right and wrong.

  • +1 Good explanation of rooster => heart. If it helps the OP, he could think of it as giving us "rooster-sense", the knowledge to wake up and serve.
    – Mike
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:59

Tosfot on Talmud Brachot 60b as cited on p. 102, here, says:

He makes this blessing even if he did not hear the rooster because this blessing was established to acknowledge the benefit that we receive from sunlight that the rooster senses and the rooster receives a benefit from the sunlight.

In other words, we receive the same benefit of sunlight that the rooster does. It's just that, unless we are consistent early risers, like farmers (who often arise before the rooster crows, anyway) the rooster has benefitted before us. According to this analysis, I guess that if you saw the sunlight before the rooster crowed, you could make this blessing, but, that's a separate question.

Bear in mind the timing (no pun intended) of this statement. It was long before alarm clocks and smart phone and radio / CD alarms. And, I don't know how many klappers existed during Talmudic times. But chance are, even with a klapper, a rooster probably woke him up.


As use to say Rebbetzin Jungreiss (Zl) the rooster is not the wiser of the animals, but he knows very well the difference between darknes and light. In the same way, we are not so preapered or sages but we have to reconize the difference between good and evil. Aloud or forbidden. Mine and yours. Kodesh and chol. The prayer is to receive this basic -and very usefull to not sin and to be a mench- kind of knowledge.

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